Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
For many years our family lived in Australia. So we’ve a bit of a blended tradition of holidays and customs. One of my favourite Australian classics is the ANZAC biscuit. Now biscuit probably isn’t what you are thinking. Biscuit is a cookie here in the United States. And ANZAC biscuits are a type of oatmeal cookie. ANZAC is an acronym for Australia New Zealand Army Corps and one of the commonly held notions is that ANZAC biscuits originated as a recipe for cookies that could be sent over seas, without spoiling, to loved ones serving in WWI. Whatever the origin of this biscuit, they are without equal in my humble opinion. Crispy on the outside, chewy in the middle, sinfully rich in butter and super simple to make. And that’s about the extent of what I know how to do with the oven. We seriously have no idea if these spoil. They never last very long.
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, chopped
3/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
8 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon golden syrup
3 tablespoons boiling water
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
In a bowl, mix the flour, oats, sugar, and coconut.
Combine the baking soda and boiling water in a small bowl to dissolve, and set aside. In a small pan, melt the butter and stir in the golden syrup. Once the syrup is mixed into the butter, stir in the baking soda and water mixture. Remove from heat and pour into the mixing bowl containing the dry ingredients.
Stir until the dough forms. It should be moist and able to hold its shape. If too dry, add a few drops water. If too moist, add a sprinkle of flour.
Place rounded teaspoon of mixture on greased baking sheet generously spaced apart.
Place baking sheet into a preheated 300F degree oven for 12-15 minutes or until the biscuits are a deep golden brown on top. They will puff up during baking and once cooled will be quite thin. Makes about 2-3 dozen biscuits, depending on how big you make them and how much dough you eat before baking.
Now I know golden syrup is not familiar to most of us in the United States. But I substitute dark corn syrup with pretty good results. Not exactly the same, but passable. And if you are in Europe you can substitute treacle.
Remember, there’s a 20% discount on everything in my Etsy shop from now until midnight. All you need to do is load up your cart, proceed all the way through checkout without paying at PayPal. I’ll email you a revised invoice through PayPal with your discount.
Be sure to check the tours and specials of the other Beads of Clay artists. Just click the photo in the top right and it will lead you to the links.
Thanks so much for coming by! I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour. I’ve certainly enjoyed myself.
And a really big thank you to Mary and Marsha for organizing this wonderful event!
To enter, leave a comment on this post. The winner will be randomly chosen and announced at 3:20 pm EST. A few extra minutes, here, as I know this is a hectic pace we’re setting here!
Remember there are 18 of us simultaneously giving away little bits of beady art. So click on that photo up there on the right and check out what the other goodies are.
Come on in and let’s have a look around. But I’m warning you, it is a huge mess in here. I’m getting ready for a few shows over the next 2 weeks and cleaning wasn’t high on my list of priorities. OK, truth is cleaning is never on my list of priorities, but it is more chaotic than usual in here.
Exhibit A: Juice pitcher, last seen July 2009 in the refrigerator, Lubbock, TX
Exhibit B: Small sieve, last seen February 2004 in the kitchen utensil drawer, Kansas City, KS
Exhibit C: Butter knife, last seen May 1999 in the cutlery drawer, Melbourne, AU
I have no idea how these things end up out here. But there is a saying in my house that if you can’t find it, look in the studio.
So that’s where all the dirty clay work gets done. But come inside with me. There is a whole other aspect to studio work. Much cleaner, much tidier.
This is the most important part of my studio space and where I am right now. This is my thinking corner. This is where I sketch out ideas, write blog posts, and sometimes nap. It is almost as tidy as this right now.
To enter, leave a comment on this post. Any old comment will do. I'll be counting comments on the previous post as well, except mine of course. The winner will be randomly chosen and announced at 2 pm EST.
Be sure to check out the other BOC blogger give-aways! 18 artists, simultaneously, how great is that? Just click the photo in the top right corner to get to the links.
Welcome to my studio. But shhhhhh! There’s a really big mess in there. Yep, that’s me, covered in clay. Is my hair really that gray? But first up, meet my crew.
So just what do I do?
I started out as a potter and still make pots as well as metal clay jewelry components. But mostly I make porcelain pendants, beads, and buttons. Somewhere along the line I became enamored of small tiny pieces of art and there you have it…. beads! I love texture and most of my designs have some textural element to them. I think most of that has to do with how much I love seeing glazes pool and puddle in the low spots and break across the ridges. Making glaze appeals to the mad scientist in me.
Here’s a few photos of some of my recent work
These pieces, “treasures from the sea” cuff and pendant, are by Bev at No Easy Beads. She used my “sea things” as cabachons in these amazing beaded pieces. When I was looking at them earlier, I thought to myself that these are just perfect autumn colours. And quite honestly, I am in awe of her work and all of that painstaking, tiny detail, and stunning design. By the way she’s teaching the pendant design on this year’s Bead Cruise
I’m always fascinated how two people can take similar things and make completely different pieces. This necklace, “mermaid’s tears,” is by Rosanne at 2nd Hand Rose. I am completely smitten with those matt beads and how they echo the colours in the pendant.
I have this Victorian lock from the home where I lived in Melbourne. For a while now I’ve been working with the pattern on it to create pendants, charms, and connectors. “Loyalty” and “tranquility” were made by Sharon at Live Wire using some of those components. The necklace shouts autumn, I think, and the earrings are so classic any season.
I nearly forgot! There’s a 20% discount on everything in my Etsy shop from now until midnight EST. And I loaded up the shop with heaps of new things yesterday. Whoo Hoo!!!!
Just make your purchases as usual, proceed all the way through checkout, but don’t complete your PayPal payment. I’ll email you a revised invoice with your discount.
It’s coming up time for the first give-away! It’ll be posted at 1:45 and the winner will be announced at 2pm. How’s that for instant gratification! All you need to do is comment during that time. I’ve got random.org on speed dial.
Be sure to check out the 17 other Beads of Clay artists participating in this open studio event. We’re all doing give-aways. Just click that photo up there in the top right and it’ll take you to the BOC blog and links to the other artistis. But do come back!
Friday, October 23, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
But most importantly, I have to say thanks so much for all of the comments on the Christmas ornament prototype. I must say that I am a little overwhelmed. I had no idea that such a simple idea might be so well received. This sort of support really is what keeps me grounded and going it what I do. Many thanks to all of you!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
And voila! This is what those beads will become (hopefully). This is the prototype ornament. I think of it as a little jewelry for your tree. I disassembled those chandelier crystals and brass wire wrapped them back together in a combination of clear and red. Frankly, those chandelier connections are just about as ugly as they come. This was clearly an exercise in honing my rosary bead, briolette wire wrapping skills. I've got 18 sets done, and even though my hands ached, it really made me want to work more with wire. It really is addictive. Maybe there is a jewelry maker buried deep inside me? And for those of you who were counting, there is no number 20 set. One of the crystals was chipped so that left me with 18. Just as well. I haven't the time right now to do 2 more.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
So finally I have come up with a solution to this dilemma. (The life of a potter is a never ending search for the perfect foot.) I cut out little squares of clay with holes in the center. I cut them apart bevel the edges and glue them on with my super glue toilet paper clay paste. And that could be enough but I really wanted the feeling that these feet grew out of the body of the pot. So I added moist clay sculpted those feet into the bottom of the pot. After 16 of them I’ve gotten quite good at this exercise.
So what about that flat bottom pot I lured you into this blog post with? Well she’s gone off to the corner for unloved pots until I decide what to do with her. It’s a kind of purgatory for pots and she has a lot of company.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
I'll be giving you a little tour of my studio. And I'm pretty darned sure you'll get the unvarneshed truth of the chaos I create in. With 3 shows coming up in 3 weeks, I'm absolutely positive you will not get a pretty version. You'll get the down and dirty, the muddy reality of my creative process, totally uncensored, warts and all. Isn't that tempting?
If that's not enough I'll be doing some give aways and have in mind some things that you've never seen in the Etsy shop. Still not enough? Well last count I made, there are a whopping 16 artists participating in this blogtastic event, all with their own give-aways and exciting insights into the life of a ceramic bead maker. That's a whole lot a bead giving going on.
Curious who's going to be here? Just click that photo up there and head on over to the BOC blog and find out. While you are there just go ahead and click that follow button so you can get regular updates to what we're up to.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
I’m sure there are more bells and whistles that could be added to this. I’ve got a few in mind. For example, you could apply fabric to the panels for a little dressier version. I’ve thought about making a Velcro attached hook system. I’d love to hear your ideas!
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Well I did not cry but I did walk in circles for an hour. It was a matter of missed communication and it all turned out OK, better than OK, even. In fact, after a glass of wine (or two) it was quite fun. And best of all, the gallery opening was quite successful.
It did put me in a bit of a spot for the market Saturday. So head down, tail up I have been in the studio night and day. Almost caught up.
Sunday, when I should have been in the studio replenishing my supply of little trays, I made bracelets. After all the beads were sitting there in a little pile after my frantic search for things for the gallery. A little while ago, Cindy at Sweet Bead posted a photo of bracelet she made using spiral links. I loved those links and they just stayed there in my mind for days, fermenting into an idea. And this is what came out. Those green beads are from Sue at SueBeads and are wonderful little etched glass disks that slide and spin on the links. I love those beads and they seem to go well with my favourite glaze.